Freight 101 Blog

Labor disputes could cause added congestion at ports

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Weekly highlights

US trucking data for July shows that volumes and rates have started to normalize, possibly reflecting the trend in ocean imports.

In ocean freight, volumes are expected gradually to decline through the end of the year – though they are projected to remain well above 2019-levels. 

Congestion at some US ports is improving. Just a few ships are waiting off the coast of LA/Long Beach, and the line getting shorter in Savannah.

But, together with still-strong demand, congestion is still significant enough to keep rates elevated. Asia – US West Coast rates dipped 3% to $5,738/FEU this week, though this price is more than 4x the rate in August 2019.

Likewise, from February to April, Asia – N. Europe rates went down by 28% from a record high of more than $15,000/FEU to about $10,500.

But since then, prices have decreased by only 5% and remain more than 7X the rate three years ago.

European ports are facing additional challenges that could make congestion worse, including low water levels on the Rhine and multiple labor disruptions. 

An eight-day port worker strike in Felixstowe – the UK’s largest container port by volume – is set to begin on Sunday and will likely worsen congestion and delays for UK logistics, and put additional pressure on alternative European ports. Workers at Liverpool’s port have also authorized a strike, though no date has been set. 

Falling air cargo volumes are also leading to lower rates on many lanes. The Freightos Air Index China – US West Coast index rate was $6.58/kg last week, which is 38% lower than a year ago but more than 3X  pre-pandemic norms for this time of year.

Asia-US rates for this week

  • Asia-US West Coast prices  (FBX01 Daily) decreased 3% to $5,738/FEU. This rate is 69% lower than the same time last year.
  • Asia-US East Coast prices (FBX03 Daily) fell 2% to $9,150/FEU, and are 54% lower than rates for this week last year.

Check in next week for more real-time freight market updates to help you ship smoother.

More rates from Freightos.com

Containerized Freight Rates from the Freightos Baltic Index
FBX LaneGlobalAsia – US West CoastAsia –US East CoastAsia – North EuropeNorth Europe – US East Coast
This Week5,830$5,738$9,150$10,121$8,522
Last Week-1%-3%-2%2%5%
Last Year*-43%-69%-54%-28%44%
* Compared to the corresponding week in 2021

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